On May 11, 2016, 30 days after Governor Baker signed new solar net metering legislation into law (the “Act”), the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities opened Docket 16-64 and issued an order adopting Emergency Regulations (“Emergency Regulations”) that amend the existing Net Metering Regulations (220 C.M.R. 18.00) to reflect the provisions of the Act. The Emergency Regulations do not provide all of the answers for which stakeholders had hoped. In fact, DPU itself has posed a series of questions for stakeholders that suggest the Department is actively considering whether and how the final regulations should differ from the Emergency Regulations in order to appropriately implement the Act. Interested parties should consider participating in the public comment period leading up to issuance of a final regulation. Public comments are due June 15, 2016 and DPU will also hold a public hearing the same day.   /continue reading

On April 8, 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued an emergency regulation expanding the state’s SREC II solar incentive program to all otherwise eligible solar projects that can be complete by January 8, 2017. The regulation represents DOER’s response to the oversubscription of the SREC II program in early February 2016 and provides a bridge to help the market transition to a successor solar incentive program that DOER is in the process of developing.

Under the emergency regulation, notwithstanding the prior cumulative SREC I/SREC II program cap of 1600 MW DC, all new Massachusetts solar facilities that otherwise meet SREC II qualification requirements will be able to participate in the SREC II program under certain conditions.   /continue reading

On April 11, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 75 of the Acts of 2016, “An Act Relative to Solar Energy,” legislation that raises the Massachusetts net metering program caps – but includes a number of changes to the net metering program aimed at reducing costs to ratepayers.

The Act provides for an increase in the cap on “private net metering facilities” and “public net metering facilities” in the territory of each Massachusetts distribution company. The private facility cap rises from 4% to 7% of the utility’s historic peak load; the public facility cap rises from 5% to 8%. While largely good news for solar stakeholders in Massachusetts, the existing waiting list for private net metering facilities in National Grid’s service territory (current cap status available here) is expected to absorb nearly all of the approximately 153 MW AC private facility cap increase in that territory. As a result, the Act is expected to facilitate the construction of private net metering facilities on the National Grid waiting list but will likely not allow for resumption of early stage development of larger solar projects in National Grid territory (comprising 175 Massachusetts cities and towns).   /continue reading